US Auto Industry Rose 8% in 4th Quarter, While EV Industry Grew 29%

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The US auto industry continues to grow following its long recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic and economic shutdown of 2020–2021. In the 4th quarter of 2023, US auto sales rose 8% compared to the 4th quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, pure electric vehicle (BEV) sales rose by 29%. So, despite the narrative about people not wanting electric vehicles or buying electric vehicles, EV sales growth has been much stronger than normal auto sales growth. Don’t believe all the EV anti-hype.

On to the charts.

Looking at the chart for auto sales by brand, you can see that Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and Honda continue to top the charts, but there’s a little more of a spread between each of them than there is in many quarters. Tesla is holding its own in 8th, an impressive position for a young, fully electric car company. Furthermore, it’s very close behind #7 Kia, #6 Nissan, and even #5 Hyundai. Could Tesla rise to 5th place in 2024? One can dream! And more often than not, Tesla has achieved its dreams.

Further down below, Rivian needs to more than double its sales to get into the top 20, but I’m confident the company will be able to do that. Maybe even in 2024? And then there’s Lucid … well, I’m less bullish about it. The Saudi-backed company just needs a more mass-market option.

Going back to Q4 2019, pre-pandemic, we get a look from the charts above at which auto brands have improved and which have not in the past five years. Naturally, Tesla is far out in the lead in terms of volume of sales growth and percentage sales growth. Otherwise, Kia, Hyundai, and Mazda did quite well among larger automakers, while MINI, Volvo, and Porsche did well among smaller automakers.

We’ve also go comparisons to Q4 2020 and Q4 2021 that you can see below, but given the global disruptions in the auto market and economy as a whole, I don’t think there’s much to take from those, so I’ll jump back into a discussion of the trends after the Q4 2022 comparison charts.

Compared to the 4th quarter in the year before, Rivian had the most percentage growth in the entire auto industry! Though, that also came from having a rather low starting point. In volume terms, 15 other auto brands grew faster than Rivian. One of those brands was Tesla, 5th in overall volume sales growth and 12th in percentage sales growth.

Looking at the overall market, you can see above that overall US auto sales were up compared to Q4 in the two years before, but were down compared to Q4 2019 and Q4 2020.

Here’s a big-picture look at how different brands trended in the past 5 years in the 4th quarter (a static image version of the chart followed by an interactive version that shows great on computers but may not display well on a phone):


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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